Car Culture

Toyota's not-so-hot hybrid hatchbacks

Toyota launches the Auris HSD Hybrid and the Lexus CT 200h hybrid at the 2010 Geneva auto show.

Lexus CT 200h
The Lexus CT 200h is one of two hybrid hatchbacks Toyota showed in Geneva. Wayne Cunningham/CNET

GENEVA--Making maximum use of its Synergy hybrid drive system, originally launched in the Prius, Toyota showed off two new hybrid hatchbacks at the 2010 Geneva auto show. The Auris HSD Hybrid uses the latest Synergy hybrid system in the European Auris model, which is based on the Scion xB platform. The CT 200h, with a similar hatch design, is branded as a Lexus, with luxury appointments to uphold that brand.

Both cars use the same hybrid configuration as the 2010 Prius, a 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine complemented by an electric motor. And like the Prius, each car can run at low speeds under electric power.

Europe has always been a good market for hatchbacks, explaining Toyota's decision to launch the cars at the Geneva auto show. But the Lexus CT 200h is also slated to come to the U.S., and Toyota is seriously considering bringing the Auris HSD Hybrid over.

The CT 200h get many of the same luxury appointments we saw in the HS 250h, Lexus' small hybrid-only sedan launched last year. The cabin tech is controlled by Lexus' new Remote Touch interface, and the car can be had with LED headlights.